I love Adam Avery’s beers. Avery may never get the absolute MOST attention for their releases, but they’re almost uniformly solid. I’ve mentioned before that I’m actually not that big a fan of the regular Avery IPA for whatever reason, but I love beers like The Maharaja, DuganA, The Kaiser and New World Porter. They make a ton of beers, like to experiment, and are just all-around solid. Avery’s hometown of Decatur, IL, is even currently where I work and make my own home.
That said, I’ve only had The Czar once in the past, and remember thinking that it was good if not great at that point. I thought I would give a bomber of this year’s Czar another shot. This tasting took place a few months ago.
NOTES: 22 oz bottle poured into one of my big-ass bomber glasses.
STYLE: Russian imperial stout.
ABV: 11.03%. I always find these super-precise readings from Avery amusing. Why do they feel the need to give us the .03?
APPEARANCE: Black. Like, black-black.
HEAD: Leaves a wispy, faint head that remains throughout, little lacing.
NOSE: Not one of the stronger noses I’ve had lately on an RIS, kind of a cocoa powder/Nestle Quik aroma with a boozy background.
TASTE: Okay, taste it definitely has. Dark fruitiness and some more cocoa, and lots and lots of alcohol on the back end. Really a lot of booze in the flavor, almost with sherry-like notes. Sweet in the way that boozy beers typically are, a little much for me. Just doesn’t hide the booze quite as well as some other 11% beers do. As I got drunker, it got less noticeable, unsurprisingly.
MOUTHFEEL: Incredibly thick and viscous, like old motor oil. A very hearty imperial stout.
DRINKABILITY: Predictably low, given how thick it is and how much alcohol there is. Still, I finished off the bomber with no difficulty.
RATING: I award The Czar 3 hops–not bad, but not my favorite imperial stout. It occurs to me that both times I’ve had the beer now, it’s been fresh. Avery recommends aging The Czar for a while, up to a couple years. Seeing as my biggest gripe with it seems to be the alcohol, it may be that I should simply stock one away and try it after a year or so. I think a more mellowed-out Czar might be something indeed. Until then, I’ll just go out and pick up some of the new 2011 Maharaja bombers that should be hitting store shelves any time now.